Inslee Urges Washingtonians to Wear Masks Indoors, Reiterates Mask Requirement for Schools

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For your general information, on Wednesday, July 28 Governor Inslee held a press conference to discuss the state's ongoing response to the COVID-19 pandemic.  He stated that he will continue safe practicing for our students and young people and will ask people to mask in other situations per the CDC recommendations.  Numbers of COVID cases are going up dramatically and this could be called a fifth wave.  The dominant variant is the Delta variant and is the most highly contagious.  

He announced that schools will be reopening this fall and all students and teachers will be required to wear masks regardless of vaccination status.  This is a legal requirement that all districts will have to follow.  This goes along with CDC guidelines.  

Governor Inslee insisted that the requirements are due to the fact that not enough people have been vaccinated.  He is also recommending statewide that people consider wearing a mask, regardless of the vaccination status, when they are indoors.  This is not a mandate but only a recommendation.  CDC has shown that even vaccinated people can pass the disease to other people.  96% of people hospitalized do not have a vaccination. 

The governor was joined by Secretary of Health Umair Shah, and Deputy Secretary of Department of Health, Lacy Fehrenbach, and Executive Director of External Affairs Nick Streuli

Dr. Shah said that we know that masks work and vaccines work and the protection from vaccines still hold steady, but the increase in transmissions should be a wakeup call to us.  The pandemic is not stopping people.  They are in line with what the CDC is recommending that everyone wears mask indoors. 

The delta variant is twice as transmissible as the COVID-19. 

The Governor stated that he may consider mandating all state employees to get vaccinated or submit to COVID testing.  This is a topic that they are currently discussing and he will provide additional information in the near future. 

Both the Governor and Secretary of Health encouraged vaccinations and wearing mask indoors.  Dr. Shah further stated that those that are NOT vaccinated are legally still required to wear masks. 

To view the Governor’s press conference click here.